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Beige G3 owner reports on TV Tuners
Posted: 3/26/2004
Last Updated: 6/1/2005

A reader with a Beige G3 asked for feedback from anyone with that system using a TV Tuner card (or external TV Tuner module - ATI used to sell one some years back. Formac's Firewire cased Studio TVR notes OS X required but doesn't mention if a G4 is required at their specs page.). The Video topics page, Video Capture/TV/Scanners/Cameras section has some past articles/feedback on TV tuner PCI cards here but some cards like the miglia require a G4 per their specs. There's an older page on OS X jaguar drivers for some generic/pc tv tuner Cards in that section. (He didn't list what OS version he's using though).
I had also forgotten about the past Beige G3 owner reports on the EyeTV reviews page. (Use the browser find feature to jump to "beige" owner comments.)

Several Beige G3 owners using TV Tuners (ATI, IXmicro, Formac, EyeTV and Eskape's MyTV) replied to the request for feedback. Also updated with 2 reports on using an older mac Apple TV Tuner card with the Beige G3 A/V personality card.

Reader Reports: (most recent first)

(added 6/1/2005 - in reply to a reader request in a post here yesterday)
"I am the person who back in March emailed you about putting an Apple TV Tuner into a Beige G3. (see copy of his post w/link below-Mike)
The 26-pin connector next to the 10-pin TV tuner connector is for the infrared receiver board. With this you can use a remote control. The other 60-pin connector is for the Digital Audio/Video bus. PCI video capture cards could connect to the DAV port to transfer real-time digital video and audio. This would free up bandwidth on the PCI bus.
A full description of the DAV connector can be found here:
Horst "

(added 5/31/2005)
"hello, I was doing research about the Beige G3's "Wings" personality card when I happened across your page. I didn't see any reports about the fact that it is possible to use a Apple TV Tuner card from a Apple TV/Video System package (M2896LL/C) with the "Wings" (or A/V) personality card. (There was a post in the March 7th, 2005 news page on this. See below for a copy of it.-Mike)
Run a 10 pin ribbon from the 10 pin port on the personality card to the tv tuner card. Apple Video Player recognizes the new TV signal and so does the sound control panel.
hope this helped!
also I am wondering what do the other two ports on the personality card do, I think the 60pin port connects to a Avid Cinema card, but I still don't know what the third (30pin?) (26pin) port does. thank you!
-Jeff G. "

(Update - see the later post above.) If anyone has the pinout/info let me know. Thanks.
BTW - I remember a post earlier this year in the main news page on using an Apple TV Tuner card in a Beige G3 so I checked the Archives page/Saturday news page weekly summaries and found it. (from the March 7th, 2005 news page)

"Apple TV Tuner in a Beige G3
Hello Mike,
Recently, I figured out that some Beige G3 Macs are capable of using an Apple TV Tuner card like a Power Mac 5500 is able to do. After purchasing several Beige G3s at an auction a while back, I realized that one of them had an interesting version of the A/V Personality card. In addition to the 60-pin DAV connector, it has a 10-pin and 26-pin connector, which are the same as an Apple TV Tuner card and infrared receiver board from a Power Mac 5500.

Upon testing I have found that in fact both do work with the Beige G3 Tower in OS 9! It is apparent Apple originally planned for the Beige G3s to have TV capabilities like the Power Mac 5500 and other Performas. I created a page with pictures about this and how I modified my G3 All-In-One's Personality card to use the Apple TV Tuner card. The address of my page is
(see sidebar link there to http://www.geocities.com/pm9600g4/g3tv-1.html)
It is really neat having the Apple TV Tuner card in my G3 All-In-One. Its like using my Power Mac 5500, but faster.

(reports below were from March 2004)

" I am using a Formac ProTV card in my Platinum G3 (it really isn't "beige" -- compare to the original beige compact Macs to see the difference) (Everyone I know has called it the Beige G3 for years especially after the Blue and White G3 was released after it in 1999. As you can see here, most just refer to it and recognize it as the Beige G3.-Mike), 640 MB RAM, upgraded with a 500 MHz Sonnet G4. I am running OS X 10.2.8, and use the freeware application 'iTV':
(that's one of the programs listed on the previous page here of TV Tuner Card software for OS X Jaguar)

It works pretty well, though I suspect it of having caused some hard freezes and kernel panics (albeit rarely). It takes ~20-30% of processor cycles, so I quit it if I need to do anything demanding.

The settings are sort of hit and miss, and the documentation is sparse. Automatic channel search got me started, but I had to fine tune quite a bit (adding/deleting and changing the frequency) to get satisfactory results.
Jonathan J "

" Hi Mike, I have a upgraded Beige MiniTower attached to a Formac's Firewire cased Studio TVR which works quite well with my current configuration.
The modified Beige with Type B ROMs specs out as follows
PowerLogix G4 533Mhz which is over clocked to 600 by setting the bus speed to 75Mhz. The machine is quite stable at this speed, thanks to the guidance found on your site Mike. I have considered a 1Ghz Sonnet but I don't think the performance would increase would be enough to justify the high cost due to the slow memory.
768Megs of OWC Memory installed.
Sonnet Trio Card flashed to rev 4.5 firmware and attached to the Trio WD WD1200 120Gig Single Drive (8Meg buffer) setup with a 8Gig OSX.2 boot partition with the remainder used for applications and free space. WDC WD2500 250Gig Drive as Master (8Meg buffer) on the other IDE Bus used for mainly for video editing.
Maxtor 6Y200P0 or 180 Gig Drive installed as a Slave (8Meg buffer) with OS9.1 installed and mainly used to back-ups of video projects and run old software as needed.

On the Trio Firewire bus is the Formac Studio external device which is set to receive its signal from a Motorola descrambler supplied by the cable provider. Also connected is a Toshiba DVD/VCR combo player for video capture and transfer.

Also on the Trio Firewire bus is an external and OSX2 bootable (using Xpostfacto 3.0a14) WD WD1200 120Gig drive used as a primary backup device, utilities and troubleshooting. The Trio's USB bus has a Mac keyboard and Logitech mouse attached and supported using USB Overdrive.

A Mac Radeon 7000 card is used for the video which is connected to a ViewSonic VG150 flat panel display.

On the internal system IDE bus they are the following,
Pioneer DVR-106D which is fully supported by OSX2 as a single device on the bus. Burns are usually done with Toast 6.0.3 that sees the Formac as a video camcorder. However Dragon Burn is also installed and fully supports the burner.

The other IDE bus has attached a Pioneer DVD-ROM DVD-120, however it does get read errors but will mount and play most DVDs. Due to the read problems I do not use it with Toast for DVD duplication as was my original intent. For DVD ripping I use the DVR-106D which is much more reliable perhaps due to its slower speed.

I use the Formac primarily as a TV tuner to capture and record cable programs and remove the commercials using iMovie3 and create burns using iDVD3. It captures directly to iMovie from any of the Formac inputs which allows for easy video tape to DVD transfers. The biggest issue using a slow machine is rendering time required with iDVD. I usually schedule these operations to be done overnight.

I also use the Formac Studio TVR 3.0.4 software to watch TV. (Several times last year I posted update notes on alternative software called "Vidi" that some formac owners preferred to the formac software versions in the past.
See http://mitzpettel.com/software/vidi.html for more info/compatible models, etc.-Mike
) The sound is clear however the frames are dropped by the player. This is not a problem during the recording process and once placed on a DVD the output looks fine even when viewed on our Mitsubishi HD1080 65inch projection set. One advantage to the Formac software is its ability to capture and view in a DV widescreen format. Problematic with the software is time shift function while viewing programs. There is a dramatic increase in dropped frames using this option something a faster machine would most likely solve. In my view the biggest advantage to the Formac when used with slower Macs is its internal hardware DV encoder/decoder. With it I can even use the computer for other things while having a TV program on in the background. The Formac is not usable in OS9 due to its newer firmware but I would recommend using it in OSX2 or Panther due to the multithread ability of the OS.

Bottom line I am quite satisfied with the Formac product. I recommend it and give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Guy L. "

" Hello Mike, I've using an iXMicro TurboTV card. It only works in OS9 since iXMicro went under pre-OSX and I haven't tried any of the OSX TV driver hacks yet. The card works great and switches through channels instantly. Switching the monitor to 640x480 will give you full screen viewing without any menubars or palettes getting in the way. There is no impact on CPU usage when it is running.

The current Beige G3 specs are G3/400 with 384mB ram running OS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.2.8. The card has Co-Ax, S-video, composite inputs and is PC compatible.

I would be interested to know if anyone has been successful getting this card to work in OS X.
Regards, Richard "

See comments from other turboTV owners here and on the previous page of OS X TV Tuner software.

" I have the old ATI Xclaim TV Tuner/Video card combo running on my Biege. It only works on OS 9 (no classic support), but has virtually no load on the system, since the video card handles all the video. It works with composite video in, S-Video, and coaxial cable. They are hard to find, but I have seen them on Ebay.

The machine is a 500mhz G3 (CPU upgraded) running OS 9.2.2, with 512 RAM, however the video viewer app requires only 5 - 10MB of RAM to run- recording is another matter, since it records in raw video format, then compresses.

I have a Formac Studio TVR also, which gets low frames on the Beige, but does work (15-20fps I estimate). A faster CPU may yield better results.

I would be happy to answer any questions from the reader directly, also, if he has any followups.
-Will "

" I used to use an ixTV card ("TurboTV") in a Beige G3 (266 - upgraded to 500 MHz with a Sonnet G3 ZIF CPU upgrade card) under Mac OS 9.2.2.

The ixMicro people never updated the drivers/software for OS X while I had the Beige G3 (I gave it to my brother a year ago), so I can't tell you anything about OS X compatibility. I just assumed it was dead.

It worked well under OS 9.2.2 - it was a separate PCI bus card and it did full 640x480 natively, whereas my current (Eskape) MyTV USB device only does 320x240 natively. (I switched to an AlBook 17", thus my need for a non-PCI card replacement tuner.)
Regards, Greg E. "

The previous page here of TV Tuner Card Drivers for OS X Jaguar had some software that listed that card as compatible, although one owner said he didn't have any luck.

" I used to use the ATI but drivers got to be an issue. I picked up an ElGato and have been using that ever since. Seems to work fine with the Beige. You do have to have a USB port added to it. But I think that this is the most simple solution.

I have a readeon pci. I have a dvd-rom/cdrw toshiba combo drive and use the hacked install OSX dvd player. I use the old CompUSA combo firewire/USB card with the TI chip. I go that on close out for $19.99 Thanks for the Reccomendation on that from your site. (the FW/USB combo card feedback page here had reports on this card from a couple of years ago. CompUSA boxes had several different card designs at times though-Mike)

All in All this beige has lasted for 6+ years and is still going strong. It has a G3-533 chip and 768 of memory and a 120Gb hd. So ther eis not too much to add. But I am afraid with OS10.3 it has reached the end of its upgrading life. Time to look at a ibook.
Carl "

I had initially forgotten about some past Beige G3 owner reports also on the EyeTV owner feedback page here. (Use the browser 'find' feature to find "beige" owner comments there.)

" Mike, I have a beige G3 I was using for a few years and had installed a USB/PCI card in it which allowed me to use Eskape's MyTV external TV tuner box that interfaces over USB. It ran under 10.2.6 just fine.

I had a 500MHz G3 ZIF upgrade in the beige tower. And I was running the two 17" LCDs off a ATI Radeon 7000 PCI video card.

Before that, I had an ATI Rage Pro 128 with ATI's TV tuner box (the deep purple one) that worked under OS 9 only.

When I upgraded to a Quicksilver 2001 733MHz, I decided to move to a EyeTV box which is also USB. I run 10.3.2 on the Quicksilver.

I didn't check the specs on the software for the eyeTV to see if it will work on the G3, but I think it would.
I still have the beige G3 around though I don't fire it up very often anymore.
Hope this helps, Malcolm K. "

" Beige G3 - G3/500 upgrade, Mac OS 9.2.2, 512MB RAM
IX Micro TV Tuner card (TurboTV)
BTV Pro (not sure version number - last one for OS 9 I think 5.x)
(I asked about performance and image quality)
I am pleased with it. While it does not match my G4/733/1GB/10.3.3 with Sony DV camera, I am pleased. I use it mainly for capturing short clips from an older 8mm camera and VHS. Mostly for posting to the web. The frames I grab are at 420x200 (or something close to that). I keep it around 15fps.
-Peter "

If any other readers are using a TV Tuner card/module with their Beige G3 let me know. (Include OS and system details in reports - also note if you're running a CPU upgrade. Thanks.)

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See the Video Topics page Capture/TV Tuner section.

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